Strong International Response Needed against Threat to Peace Posed by North Korea’s Missile Launch
December 14, 2012
After weeks of speculation, North Korean authorities have finally followed through with a missile launch. The country claims that the long-range missile holds a satellite called the “Kwangmyongsang-2,” but even China has criticized North Korea for “its haphazard missile launch” and has stated that, “In accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718 North Korea has no right to conduct missile launches using ballistic missile technology.” With this missile launch, North Korea has again displayed its intention to continue development of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. North Korea has committed a clear provocation against both South Korea and the international community as a whole.
Despite the knowledge that a missile launch would result in even more stringent sanctions by the international community, the Kim Jong Eun regime has failed to halt its gamble to maintain power. A year has passed since Kim Jong Eun became North Korea’s leader, but his decision to follow through with the launch is nothing more than an attempt to unite the country as dire economic conditions and a military reshuffle has led to widespread discontent. North Korean propaganda claims that the satellite has entered into orbit as planned. Likewise, Kim Jong Eun has said that the recent missile test was a success and has been trying to use the launch as an opportunity to strengthen his military leadership and divert attention away economic troubles.
However, the missile launch will have little long-term impact. With leadership changes in the U.S. and China and a nearing South Korean presidential election, North Korea’s missile launch has forced these countries to focus on adopting strong sanctions against the country rather than move toward dialogue. Moreover, the international community’s distrust and sanctions toward the country has further restricted North Korea’s sphere of movement. The U.N. Security Council plans to meet and discuss sanctions against the country, and the U.S. and Europe plan to adopt additional sanctions separately. The South Korean government has strengthened its cooperation with the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, and is demanding strong sanctions from the Security Council. South Korean presidential candidates on both sides of the political spectrum are strongly condemning North Korea’s provocation.
South Korea and the international community will need to adopt strong measures to make sure this recent missile launch does not lead to another North Korean nuclear test. There is also an imperative to strengthen financial sanctions against the country and freeze the Kim family’s assets hidden overseas. Considering the fact that North Korea received assistance from Iranian missile experts, there is also a need for diplomatic efforts to break the country’s connections with other rogue states. China also needs to place strong pressure on North Korea to halt its haphazard provocations. As a G2 country, the world is demanding that China play a role in maintaining peace in the international community. The international community needs to show the Kim Jong Eun regime that its decision to choose military provocations over opening and reform was a mistake.
December 12, 2012
The Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights